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Newgarden cleared to return to IndyCar cockpit for practice

Josef Newgarden has been cleared by the IndyCar medical team, following his Iowa incidents, to return to the cockpit for practice tomorrow, but will then undergo a further evaluation.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet

Perry Nelson / Motorsport Images

While dominating the second Iowa race last Sunday, just a day after a similar run to victory in Iowa’s first race, Newgarden suffered a suspected failure of his right-rear shock absorber. That spun his #2 Team Penske-Chevrolet hard into the Turn 4 SAFER barrier, making initial contact with its left-rear corner, before slapping the barrier more side-on.

After being cleared at the infield medical center, Newgarden held a coherent interview with NBC but later suffered a loss of consciousness and collapsed as he walked to his RV. To avoid road traffic, he was flown by helicopter to MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, where he stayed overnight under observation, before returning home to Nashville, TN. on Monday.

After observing the readings from his accelerometers during the accident, per IndyCar Series protocol, the series medical team had told Newgarden he would require reevaluation today (Thursday) to determine his status for this weekend’s Gallagher Grand Prix on the IMS road course.

In the mean time, 43-race IndyCar race veteran Santino Ferrucci was put on standby to take the wheel of the #2 Penske, if Newgarden was unable to join teammates Will Power and Scott McLaughlin in this weekend’s line-up for IndyCar’s second 2022 race to be held on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, the Gallagher Grand Prix.

However, IndyCar Medical has cleared Newgarden to practice in tomorrow morning’s session, before undergoing another evaluation.

A statement from IndyCar revealed that: “The examination determined that Newgarden is cleared to participate in tomorrow’s NTT IndyCar Series practice session on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Newgarden will be re-evaluated after the session to determine if he’s cleared to resume all racing activities for the remainder of the Gallagher Grand Prix event.”

Should he be given the all clear, Newgarden, who has won four races this year, can continue his pursuit of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship. He currently lies third in the points, 34 behind Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda’s Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, 26 behind teammate Power, on the same points as Ganassi’s Scott Dixon (but with a superior win tally), two ahead of Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP-Chevy) and 10 ahead of Ganassi’s defending series champion Alex Palou. There are five rounds to go.

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